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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Texans: Kyle Shanahan, Trey Lance weigh in on backup quarterbacks

Aug 25, 2022 at 10:02 PM--

As was the case in the previous two 49ers preseason games, Thursday night's matchup against the Houston Texans was a chance for 49ers backup quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy to get extended playing time and prove they deserve to be this season's No. 2 quarterback behind Trey Lance. Both quarterbacks had their ups and downs in Thursday night's 17-0 loss, but each of them head into the August 30 53-man roster deadline having made their case for the backup job.

The veteran Sudfeld finished 5-of-10 for 49 yards against the Texans with one interception, while the rookie Purdy threw for 182 yards and one interception on 13-of-20 passing. Sudfeld finished the preseason with 254 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 26-of-38 passing, while Purdy wound up with 346 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 30-of-49 passing. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan briefly spoke after the game about what he saw from the backup quarterbacks, saying he felt like the team's penalties made it hard on Sudfeld and Purdy but that each quarterback got some valuable reps (with Purdy getting an opportunity to run one last two-minute drill towards the end of the game) and fought through some challenging circumstances.

"Both of them I think needed it," Shanahan said. "The reps, the more the better. It's such mixed emotions there at the end, trying to end the game so we didn't get anybody hurt but also wanted to give Brock another two-minute drill, which I thought he did a pretty good job getting us down there and giving us a chance to score. Both those guys were in some tough situations though. That D-Line I thought played pretty hard. I don't want to take anything away from them. We struggled with some of the penalties and the situations we got in. But I thought both the quarterbacks battled. I wish they would have been smarter with the ball on a couple of those."

Sudfeld has long been the favorite in the battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot and is expected to be on the roster after cuts are made. The question is if Purdy has done enough to earn himself a spot. The expectations for Purdy were somewhat low coming into training camp after being the last selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, but he had some positive moments and most likely assured himself of at least a spot on the practice squad.

"We liked him a lot coming in and he's done a good job," Shanahan said of Purdy. "We've had him in OTAs and we've had him in practice for a while. It hasn't been much surprise to us."

Regardless of what happens with Sudfeld and Purdy, the two of them have seemingly created a bond with Lance that has resulted in some strong chemistry in the 49ers' quarterback room. Lance raved about both players Thursday night, saying each of them have been helpful over the past several weeks.

"All the confidence in the world in those guys, the way they come to work every single day and they're locked in," Lance said. "There's going to be ups and downs for all of us, but us being a tight group helps a lot."

There's still the looming presence of Jimmy Garoppolo, who remains on the 49ers' roster despite not actively being involved in team activities. Garoppolo is still expected to play elsewhere this season, but he and Lance have communicated to some extent in the meantime. Lance has consistently praised Garoppolo for how the veteran treated him as a rookie in 2021, but he's moved forward with Sudfeld and Purdy when it comes to preparing for the upcoming season.

"We talk kind of just in passing," Lance said. "He's not really around for practice or meetings or anything like that. But Nate Sudfeld and Brock have been there for me for sure this year. They've done a great job, just having two guys I know have got my back."


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